There are pearls in the deep sea, but one must hazard all to find them. If diving once does not bring you pearls, you need not conclude that the sea is without them. Dive again and again. ~Ramakrishna
Learn them. Live them. Share them.
It’s time to go beyond the hot, sweaty, shamanic experience of your asana practice.
It’s time to dive deeper.
You’re ready to dive deeper.
- Drishti (concentrated intention)
The yoga practice has given me the ability to see what is before me through focusing … through stopping and looking and smelling and tasting and feeling and listening. Yoga at its very core is a concentration practice. And focusing is the use of all our senses, including intuition.
Imagine you’re riding a bike. If you look to the right, you steer to the right. You and the bike go together to the right. If you look to the left, you steer to the left. You and the bike go together to the left.
Energy follows attention. It’s that simple. Wherever your attention goes, all of your energy will follow. All of your thoughts, your whole being, everything about you will go in that direction.
When our energy is scattered, we feel stressed and overwhelmed. When our energy is focused, we feel grounded and centered.
So when you get distracted (and you will), just return to this moment. And then gently move to the next moment. And the next moment. And the next …
When you know where your inner compass is pointed, then all your thoughts and energy and actions will go in that direction.
- Satya (Truth & Honesty)
Just be for realz. This is almost a form of super focus all by itself.
Be honest with yourself first. And don’t try to deceive yourself and say it’s not challenging to stop deceiving yourself. It’s really freakin’ hard and sometimes you even have to call in back-up from your tribe because you’re drowning in your own illusion. But it’s worth it. You’ll stop seeking answers and approval from others. If you’re straight-up about your shortcomings and screw-ups, it will only help you grow and make better choices in the future. (Blame, Shame, & Guilt Triplets proceed to exit stage door left …)
So just surrender the bullshit and become an expression of your deepest desires. I’m not saying this will totally free you from all suffering, but it will probably significantly lessen it.
Wisdom from personal experience: Once you switch to the T&H team, you will have an unexplainable urge to be brutally honest with everyone. Don’t forget the extra large dose of loving kindness … because mean people suck.
- Upeksha (Equanimity) & Santosa (Contentment)
We are constantly being pulled in different directions. Every day we are bombarded with advertisements telling us we are not good enough the way we are, and if you buy “bullshit product example A” you will finally be “perfect” or “complete.” Ugh. It’s so overwhelming. It’s utter madness.
Our thoughts are powerful – really freakin’ powerful. They induce all sorts of emotions, some aiding and some disabling. Some are blatantly instigated by outside influences, and some seemingly bubble up from within. Find the balance in the middle by practicing mindfulness and notice when you’re being bamboozled by your own thoughts and feelings. You are not your thoughts. I repeat, you are not your thoughts. And you most certainly can’t think your way out of a prison made of thought (thanks Krishna Das). Remember that everything in your life now is not only precious, but temporary – including you. Be grateful for all of it. The deep roots of inner strength grow from calmness and gratitude … and practice.
- Abhyasa (Practice) & Vairagya (Renunciation)
The dance between attachment and apathy. Along the middle path of that spectrum we can embrace how to balance effort and letting go, willpower and acceptance, and practice and detachment.
In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali defined Abhyasa as the disciplines you do to remain in a state of harmony with one’s own Self. He also shares the 3 ingredients necessary for the practice to be fruitful: Abhyasa is to be practiced for a long time (years), without interruption (no holidays!), and with honor and respect (no grumbling and where’s your enthusiasm?). And then during your practice, withdrawing all your energies inward. No thinking about what you perceive. No thinking about pleasure or pain. Basically just consolidating all your mental energies and attachments into a black hole so it all disappears into oblivion. Instant Enlightenment! Just kidding. Ok, so you probably won’t abandon all your possessions, family, friends, or beliefs; but it sure is freeing to recognize their transitory nature and be able to surrender them at the appropriate time. This is the Vairagya.
In other words: Do your spiritual practice. Every. Damn. Day. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. This is not Monopoly. You cannot “win” yoga. Rain or shine, just do it. Even if it’s just 5 min. Do your spiritual practice. With a heart full of devotion.
- Sraddha (Faith)
I have yet to meet anyone who knew exactly where their life path would lead them. Transitions have a lot of potential energy to feel chaotic. Sometimes uncertainty strikes. Or we get into a rut. We get stuck in our doubt and discouragement and loose drive and direction. But just like a good yoga flow, there is magic in the transitions. This is where we cultivate hope, let go of expectations, and practice the lost art of savoring.
Repeat to yourself: My worth cannot be proved. The cosmos doesn’t measure my sweat and hours for reward. I am are not defined by my accomplishments or my failures. It is already inscribed on my very soul … And it says, “I am worthy and more than enough,” and can never be erased.
Fire up your inner agency! Sraddha is the intuitive belief that you are moving in the right direction and believing with an unyielding tenacity that it’s possible. Be courageous and know that you are always right where you need to be and things are unfolding the way they should.
More being and less doing.
Seek only to be more of yourself.
And remember, your willingness is magnificent.
I love you all so much.
See you sooner rather than later,